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Press Release: Kenyan Civil Society Applauds Historic HIV Commitments by World Leaders, Call on President Kenyatta to Adopt “90-90-90” Initiative

 

AIDS Law Project * Health GAP Kenya * World AIDS Campaign

PRESS RELEASE * For Immediate Release

26th September 2014

Kenyan Civil Society Applauds Historic HIV Commitments by World Leaders, Call on President Kenyatta to Adopt “90-90-90” Initiative

 On September 25 2014, UNAIDS launched the “90-90-90” initiative to end the AIDS epidemic by setting global goals for countries to increase HIV testing so that 90% of all people living with HIV know their status, 90% of those who are HIV positive are offered treatment, and 90% of those on antiretroviral medicine are virally suppressed by 2020. The statement was made at the UN General Assembly by prominent world leaders, among them U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and South African President Jacob Zuma. Both leaders hailed the new initiative, with President Zuma committing to a rapid rollout of viral load testing, in partnership with the Clinton Health Access Initiative, in his country – South Africa.  South Africa’s initiative is already having an impact on viral load testing globally, with costs of this vital service plummeting worldwide.

“The “90-90-90” commitment is great and laudable,” said Rosemary Mburu, Executive Director of the World AIDS Campaign. “But we must begin to ask hard questions about what needs to be done to hit these achievable targets. Massive viral load testing like in the case of South Africa and increased domestic spending are some of those vital steps we must take now.”

Kenya recently adopted WHO guidelines that significantly increased the number of people living with HIV eligible for treatment, initiating therapy earlier and offering lifelong treatment to all pregnant and lactating mothers, serodiscordant couples, HIV positive patient with active TB and all children below the age of 10. The country is also working on its HIV and TB strategic frameworks and a joint TB/HIV Global fund application. And while the government has made increases in domestic financing for overall health budgets in recent years, Kenya is still heavily reliant on donors to fund the vast majority of the national HIV response.

“Full and immediate implementation of a 90% viral suppression target in Kenya will ensure that we bring a cost-effective end to the epidemic and deliver quality care to all people living with HIV,” said Maureen Milanga of AIDS Law Project and Health GAP. “But we cannot get there unless my own government steps up its commitment to fully fund the fight by for instance, demonstrating a solid commitment in launching a HIV trust fund. In addition, development partners like PEPFAR cannot afford to abandon us now. PEPFAR’s flat-lining of funding in Kenya threatens achievement of the great progress achieved in the fight against HIV in Kenya.

Civil society organizations in Kenya urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to show his leadership in the fight against HIV by formally adopting the “90-90-90” following in the footsteps of  leaders of South Africa, Malawi, Mali who have already done this .

Kenya’s Ministry of Health also needs to step up and strengthen its response to reach the targets by addressing unacceptably low rates for HIV testing, viral load monitoring and retention in care, while strongly increasing and improving strategic targeted efforts to reach key stigmatized and marginalized populations to ensure effective response to the epidemic and achieve an HIV-free generation, the Kenya Civil society organizations said.

Contact:

* Maureen Milanga, Health GAP/AIDS Law Project Kenya cell  +254 724 130 145 milangamareen@gmail.com

* Rosemary Mburu, World AIDS Campaign , Cell: +254 711 308 858 mburur@worldaidscampaign.org

Organizations:

World AIDS Campaign’s goal is to ensure that governments and policy makers meet the HIV targets they set, the commitments they made, and mobilise the necessary resources for a world where people do not die of AIDS and opportunistic infections like TB.

AIDS Law Project is an organisation that offers free legal HIV services to people living with HIV, works on public interest cases on access to medicines policy and advocacy in the Kenya.

Health GAP (Global Access Project) is an advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating the barriers to affordable life-sustaining medications for all people living with HIV.

 

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